Church leaders in South America have been struggling with the number of people migrating to their country. Individuals are prompted to leave their country due to the migratory crisis occurring in Venezuela.
Venezuelan Migrant Crisis
Despite Venezuela's long-standing reputation as a welcoming haven for migrants, the country is currently grappling with its internal migration crisis. According to UN Refugees, six million Venezuelans have been forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Venezuela, which has now become the world's second-worst international displacement disaster. Over 4.8 million individuals who have been uprooted from their homes live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Millions of people have been driven to seek asylum in neighboring nations because of widespread violence, inflation, gang warfare, skyrocketing crime rates, food shortages, medicine, and other services. The number of persons fleeing Venezuela each day is believed to be 5,000. Although Colombia and the other nations of the region have welcomed Venezuelan refugees with open arms, their ability to offer even the most fundamental of services has become increasingly taxed.
Moreover, a recent article from Disaster Philanthrophy.org stated that the refugee crisis in Venezuela is one of the worst in the world, with an outflow of more than 7.13 million people; at the end of October 2022, around 4.3 million individuals who had previously departed the country continued to "face challenges accessing food, housing, and stable jobs." Years of poor government management have resulted in an economic, political, and humanitarian crisis. This crisis has reportedly resulted in a decreased quality of life comparable to that experienced in nations where wars or conflicts have afflicted. Additionally, in Venezuela and the nations that are hosting Venezuelan refugees, there are a considerable and pressing number of unmet needs.
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Difficulties of Church Officials in South America
Crux Now reported that over the past several weeks, religious leaders who work with migrants in nations such as Brazil, Colombia, and Peru have indicated that there has been a rise in the number of Venezuelans entering the border into their countries. Most of them eventually wind-up accompanying immigrants of other nationalities, such as Haitians and Cubans, as well as residents from many Asian and African countries who desire to reach North America, although the number of Venezuelan immigrants much outnumbers those of any other nationality. "It is not comparable to the emergency we had in 2019," remarked Sister Terezinha Santin, who runs the Migrants' Pastoral Ministry in Roraima state. "But now between 300 and 700 Venezuelans get into Brazil every day," she added.
On the other hand, the Brazilian federal government reportedly runs an initiative to facilitate their relocation to neighboring states. Yet, a humanitarian catastrophe is being caused by many newly arriving people and the absence of legislation that will assist them in finding work and housing. Satin believes that the majority of the people who are currently in the country have some sort of vulnerability. At the moment, the ministry is assisting a group of one hundred senior citizens from Venezuela who have recently arrived in Brazil without any relatives, without any money, and with plans for the future.
According to the sister, many pregnant women and single mothers travel to Brazil with young children. However, Brazil still needs to increase the number of schools or hospitals in the area, which has resulted in a widening gap in providing those services. Cindy Rodero, who serves at Caritas Bogotá in Colombia, noted that another factor of the current increase is the end of a United States policy tied to the COVID-19 epidemic, which allowed the government to expel immigrants without documentation immediately. "All sorts of fake news have been spread through social media, and many immigrants have the hope they will be able to get into the United States. Human trafficking is huge now," she asserted.
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